The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jean Klock Park

Joseph Harris, the emergency manager appointed to take over Benton Harbor, may also help facilitate a land-grab of Benton Harbor's Jean Klock Park.

This park was deeded to the city in perpetuity in 1917 for the use of Benton Harbor residents.


There is a plan already underway to develop the city's lakeshore and to grab this park to build luxury homes and part of the golf course that is already under construction nearby.

Here's what the Michigan Messenger reports:

The Emergency Financial Manager of the city of Benton Harbor has issued an order stripping all city boards and commissions of all their authority to take any action.

The order, signed Thursday, limits the actions available to such bodies to calling a meeting to order, approving the minutes of meetings and adjourning a meeting. The bodies are prohibited under the act from taking any other action without the express authority of the Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris.

Actions such as Harris’ are explicitly allowed under a newly approved law which granted sweeping new powers to emergency financial managers. That legislation had drawn large protests, including attempts by some protesters to take over the state capitol building. The sit-in resulted in numerous arrests.

And reporting on the Rachel Maddow Show:

Daniel Burnham's plan for Chicago was to keep the lakeshore open and undeveloped so that the citizens and visitors to that great city could enjoy the lake.

I guess the new vision is to push poor people out of the way, take power from their elected officials, grab their parks, and build luxury home for the wealthy.

If lakeshore access is restricted to only those with means, then the lake becomes a possession instead of what it should be: a natural resource and treasure that all should be allowed to enjoy freely.

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